Location: Westmont, IL

Job Title: Elementary Guide

Organization: Blessed Family Montessori School

Education: University of Mary

Degree: Elementary Education

Marianne Tan, GIVEN ’22

Please share a little about yourself – feel free to include a fun fact!

My name is Marianne Tan and I am from the Chicago suburbs. I am a cradle Catholic and passionately so! I also am an introvert. I believe the Lord has a sense of humor based on all the things He’s led me to today!! Fun fact: I was extremely blessed to have the privilege of attending my brother’s priestly ordination at St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome. Please say a prayer for him and all priests!

Describe your professional work. How were you led to this? What are you passionate about?

I am currently helping with the beginning of a brand new Catholic Montessori school called Blessed Family Montessori School in the southwestern suburbs of Chicago. Long story short, the Lord led me to this through my formation as an educator and through the Lord leading me to meet the founders of the school. I am passionate about the formation of young souls and supporting families in growing in holiness. If you have social media, it’d be wonderful if you can like/follow/share our work with others via Facebook or Instagram!

What are the personal strengths that you’ve been given and how do you utilize them?

I think one of the gifts I have been given is the joy of service. I love to serve and find so much joy in it, whether it’s listening to a friend, playing music for others, hosting, building community, helping our priests, and especially praying for others!

What women inspire you, and why? (living or deceased, Catholic or non-Catholic, canonized or not)

There are so many women who inspire me! Friends, mentors, devout consecrated and lay Catholic women I encounter, saints, and my mother. They inspire me by the way they strive to live the life of holiness through the struggles of their lives!

Are there friends and mentors that you depend upon? How do they support you?

I depend on my friends and family and spiritual director to continue to challenge me to live the life of holiness daily. They support me through their prayers.

Prayer is essential for everyone, but especially for women who are active in the life and mission of the Church. Do you have any favorite devotions or prayers?

My favorite prayers are daily Mass, adoration of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, and consecration to Mary and St. Joseph. One Regnum Christi priest said in my Spiritual Exercises retreat last November to make sure to get a “Sonburn,” as in getting exposed to Christ in Eucharistic adoration. You may not know the effects at that moment, but you will feel them later. A prayer that I pray frequently is: “I am all Yours and all that I have is Yours, O dear Jesus, through Mary, your holy Mother, all in imitation of Thee, O holy Patriarch, St. Joseph.”

Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?

Currently, my favorite inspirational quote is “Live like you’re loved.” You can listen to the song that inspired this at this link. It is really currently my mantra. At Regnum Christi Spiritual Exercises, I learned about a program for life which helps you to grow in holiness all your life. In it, they recommend trying to find a short, memorable phrase to inspire you. Remembering “Live like you’re loved” challenges me to continue to make the courageous choice even when it’s uncomfortable. It also corresponds to my favorite hashtag told to me by a FOCUS missionary who is now a Handmaid of the Heart of Jesus, #heavenisworththeawkwardness. This has inspired me to make courageous choices that have led to so much grace and blessing not just for me but for many others. Even though it was awkward, heaven is worth it!

What were your key takeaways from the GIVEN Forum?

Healing my identity as a daughter of Christ and that I am a gift, that we each are our own unique and necessary gift, from God to the world.

What was your GIVEN Action Plan? Describe its vision, mission, and audience.

My GIVEN Action Plan was to plan a young adult retreat about our identity as Beloved sons and daughters of God. Its vision was to begin the healing of our identity in order to inspire and strengthen young adults so they can in turn take that and bring it to their communities. The vision is to have a ripple effect on everyone that is encountered.

Could you tell us a bit about what motivated or led you to develop this Action Plan? Was this something that you had on your heart prior to this past year or was it something you developed through the GIVEN program?

What motivated or led me to develop this Action Plan was literally Christ. When I applied to GIVEN, I did not know that I needed to have an Action Plan. When I found out, I went to adoration and there the Lord inspired me to plan a young adult retreat on our identity as sons and daughters of God. Specifically because it was something I was wanting but there was nothing around me like it and because in conversations with people in my young adult community, I felt other people would benefit from it as well. So it was something that the Lord was preparing in my heart prior to this past year and was developed through the GIVEN program.

How did you grow throughout this year as you worked with a mentor on your action plan? Were there any moments where you had doubts or felt like you had taken on too much of a challenge? If so, how did you overcome them?

I grew in knowledge of my gifts and how to hone in on the practical aspects of my Action Plan as I worked with my mentor throughout this year. I definitely had moments of doubt and felt I had taken on too much of a challenge especially since I’m an introvert(!) but my mentor and my friends and family encouraging me and supporting me as well as prayer helped me overcome them.

What were some of the fruits you saw from your action plan? What did you find most fulfilling in this process?

Some of the fruits I saw from my Action Plan are inspiration for other young adult retreats that have happened and are now happening in my area. What I found the most fulfilling in this process was being able to provide a space for people to encounter the Lord!